Taking a Vacation from Acid Reflux
Nothing seems more relaxing than getting away for a few days, but if you consistently cope with acid reflux and heartburn, you may have some doubts about traveling too far from home. Will unusual foods spark your symptoms? Will you be able to deal with the discomfort of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) during long days of travel? Will the vacation mentality ruin your resolve to eat reflux-friendly meals?
Though these are important questions to ask, most heartburn sufferers can stay pain-free on any journey by simply being prepared. To keep GERD from ruining any business trip or out-of-town excursion, start by:
You’ve got your swimsuit and sunscreen, but what about your medication? If you have prescription heartburn medicine, this will be important to bring along. Otherwise, it may be a good choice to pack some over-the-counter antacids for quick relief.
You may also want to bring:
- Healthy snacks. Travel often means eating on-the-go, but resorting to fast food is a surefire way to spark heartburn symptoms. Instead, bring along fresh non-citrus fruits, whole grain granola bars, bottled water and other sources of quick sustenance that can keep you away from the drive-thru window.
- Extra pillows. In addition to improving the comfort of your hotel bed, these can be used to prop up your head as you sleep, helping you avoid nighttime acid reflux.
- Fruit-flavored gum. Chewing gum can help to neutralize stomach acid and alleviate GERD symptoms. Just be sure you aren’t chewing anything flavored with mint, as this is a common reflux trigger.
Let’s face it: we don’t always have the healthiest mindset when we travel. Vacations are often filled with decadent dinners and late-night cocktails, and while any heartburn sufferer should work to maintain GERD-friendly habits away from home, this doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun.
- Eat right. If you’re going somewhere with great food, you may be thrilled to try the local fare, but remember to keep things within reason. Avoid high-fat foods, big portions and all of your acid reflux triggers. Don’t hesitate to ask your server questions about ingredients and preparation.
- Drink in moderation. Because alcohol is one of the most common acid reflux triggers, be sure not to overindulge. It’s especially important to avoid cocktails that include citrus juices.
- Sleep well. Our sleeping habits tend to get disrupted when we travel—anticipation may make us sleep too little, or the chance to relax may mean we sleep too much. Do your best to maintain your normal sleep schedule and habits that reduce your risk of reflux, like sleeping on your left side or raising the head of your bed.
Though worrying about acid reflux and heartburn may seem like the quickest way to ruin your vacation, preparations like these can help you avoid GERD any time you travel, and this will certainly make the experience more enjoyable.